Houston @ a Glance

As the fourth largest city in the U.S., there’s a lot to know about Houston and the 10-county region. 


Houston                                                  Photo by Jay Lee ( www.baldheretic.com )

The famous expression “everything is bigger in Texas” really applies to Houston and the region. Consider its size – Houston’s Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) covers 10,062 square miles, which is an area slightly smaller than Maryland but larger than Massachusetts (9,241 square miles). But don’t let the region’s size overwhelm you. As with all world-class cities, Houston and the region are comprised of many thousands of distinctive neighborhoods that reflect specific personalities and character.

Houston was founded in 1836 by two brothers and real estate brokers, John and Augustus Allen. They purchased 6,642 acres of land near Buffalo Bayou and developed it further. Houston is often described as welcoming and friendly which is very true.

The city was incorporated in 1837 and named after the President of the Republic of Texas at the time, former General Sam Houston. General Houston had commanded at the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836, which took place 25 miles east of the city’s establishment.

Houston is often known as the‘energy capital’ of the world, when in actual fact, beyond energy, Houston’s economy has diversified a great deal since the oil downturn in the 70's and 80's. Today, you’ll find other active business clusters representing key industry sectors, such as health care, biotechnology, aerospace and aviation, information technology and nanotechnology.  These industries help explain why Houston is booming while many other cities are falling behind.

One of the huge advantage to living in Houston is its affordability. Housing is just one example. The average cost of a home is about 46 percentbelow the average of U.S. metro areas according to the first quarter 2008 ACCRA Cost of Living Index. You will be amazed at the choice of neighborhoods and quality of homes from which to select.

Apartments  Houses

For the outdoor and green lovers, you will discover many trees and green spaces in the region. This is home to a wide variety of plant life and more birds can be seen within 13 counties than in any other part of the world. Houstonians love outdoor activities.  Families can enjoy 350 municipal parks and more than 200 open space areas, miles of hike-and-bike trails, baseball, soccer, football, tennis and basketball, and schedules for adult and child participation.  There are plenty of beautiful golf courses throughout the region, including seven municipal 18-hole golf courses, and there are more than 126 private and public golf courses in the area.

Parks Golf

For the shoppers, you are spoilt for choice in Houston.  For many newcomers in the city, visiting the local mall is the best form of entertainment and assimilation. One real treat is that there is always plenty of parking which is free, favorite shops are in one place and it’s always climate controlled, no matter the weather. There are more than 20 shopping centers located throughout the area, usually situated near major highways for easy access.

My Life in Houston

Now that you know a general overview of Houston, I am sure you would like to have more insights on what you can do and see here.  The  Inside Guide to Houston, developed by Outpost Houston, aims to provide you with as much information as possible to get your life started. 

In this guide, you’ll learn about the local geography, its strategic location and port, the city’s founding brothers and highlights covering recreation, family entertainment, dining and shopping. Find out all the reasons why Houston is the best city in which to live, work and play. Outpost Houston wishes you an informed relocation and a very enjoyable stay in Texas.

If you would like to have a visual overview of Life in Houston, please click here for a 10 minute photo tour developed by Outpost Houston. You will need to download the file to your computer.

Kindly note that the Inside Guide to Houston and Photo Tour belong to a series of similar documents produced throughout the Outpost Expatriate Network to assist expatriates in the relocation process. All comments are subjective and cover non-contractual issues; they should be seen as complementary to the official Shell Notes for Guidance (NFG) for Expatriate Staff and other materials provided by Shell People Services, Expatriate Services and the Shell Relocation Centre. If important information has been omitted, or if the observations made are inaccurate, please don’t hesitate to contact Outpost Houston on outposthouston@shell.com.


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